Open Access

Research Advances and Challenges in the Microbiology of Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal—A Critical Review

Authors: Gebremariam, Seyoum Yami; Beutel, Marc W; Christian, David; Hess, Thomas F

Source: Water Environment Research, Volume 83, Number 3, March 2011 , pp. 195-219(25)

Publisher: Water Environment Federation

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Enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) is a well-established technology for removing phosphorus from wastewater. However, the process remains operationally unstable in many systems, primarily because there is a lack of understanding regarding the microbiology of EBPR. This paper presents a review of advances made in the study of EBPR microbiology and focuses on the identification, enrichment, classification, morphology, and metabolic capacity of polyphosphate- and glycogen-accumulating organisms. The paper also highlights knowledge gaps and research challenges in the field of EBPR microbiology. Based on the review, the following recommendations regarding the future direction of EBPR microbial research were developed: (1) shifting from a reductionist approach to a more holistic system-based approach, (2) using a combination of culture-dependent and culture-independent techniques in characterizing microbial composition, (3) integrating ecological principles into system design to enhance stability, and (4) reexamining current theoretical explanations of why and how EBPR occurs.
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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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